Connecting Spheres Women's Work and Women's Lives In Milwaukee's Italian Third Ward

Carol Bonomo Jennngs and Christine Palamidessi Moore

in American Woman, Italian Style

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231751
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241286 | DOI:
Connecting Spheres Women's Work and Women's Lives In Milwaukee's Italian Third Ward

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In Milwaukee, the largest Italian enclave was defined by the boundaries of the Third Ward, where businesswomen worked as grocers, restaurateurs, saloon keepers, and purveyors of dry goods. Female entrepreneurs were motivated to earn an income through business enterprises while simultaneously continuing their familial and household responsibilities. Between 1900 and 1920 there were nearly 130 Italian-owned grocery stores in the Third Ward. Many of these businesses were short lived. Some appeared only once in the city directory and never again. Most of the women who were proprietors of grocery stores were not widowed and were married to men gainfully employed. All of the women in this study operated grocery stores at home. Operating a business in their home allowed them to combine economic activities with domestic responsibilities. Italian immigrant women used domestic life to their advantage.

Keywords: Milwaukee; Third Ward; businesswomen; grocery stores; Italian immigrant women; female entrepreneurs; domestic responsibilities

Chapter.  3900 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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